‘Cancer isn't the hardest part for him, it’s not seeing the boys’ - Dad undergoing life-saving treatment can’t see his three young sons
A young father-of-three has only been able to see his infant sons for a couple of hours over the past few months as he undergoes life-saving cancer treatment.
Richard Chute (26) from Cork was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia when he began complaining with swollen lymphs.
The navy officer was diagnosed in May and has only been able to see his twin sons Joshua and Elijah (2) and his 11-month-old baby Luke, a couple of times due to the risk of infection.
"He went into hospital one day and he never came home," his wife Valerie (27) told Independent.ie.
Richard is undergoing his second round of chemotherapy, which lowers his blood count and leaves him at risk of infection.
"During his first round of chemo he got a very bad infection and I’m just hoping this time he doesn’t. He can’t be around the children because they might pass on germs that can lead to an infection.
"He was able to see them for a couple of hours in the past two days because his blood cells are up," said Valerie.
Richard has a rare form of leukaemia and doctors say his best option is a bone marrow transplant which will happen in at St James’s hospital in October.
"Once he goes up to Dublin for the treatment in October he won’t be able to see the kids for three months. During his treatment he’ll be so prone to infection that he won’t even be able to drink tap water. It’s very bad but we’ll get through it."
Valerie has made a heartbreaking decision to leave the three young boys at home with family while she stays with Richard in Dublin during his treatment.
"So many things have been taken away from them that I couldn’t uproot them to Dublin and care for them and my husband. I’ll be in contact with Richard so I can’t be in contact with the kids.
"They’ll be staying with my family in Cork so at least they’ll be with people they love. It’s so hard. I’m not sure it’s a good idea, it’s probably the worst idea but it’s the best option and I’d regret it if I wasn’t there for Richard."
Valerie said during the six weeks of Richard’s bone transplant she’ll try and get home a couple of times to see the boys.
"They’re so young so I just trust it will be ok. I don’t know how I’m going to do it but I need to be with Richard. Hopefully we can make up for lost time with the children.
"All going well, he’ll be back home in three months but for the first three months he won’t be able to see them. We’re holding onto hope that he’ll be home in three months."
Valerie said the three children "miss him terribly" when he’s gone.
"It was ok at the beginning because he works in the navy and they were used to him being away but they just knew something was wrong. He went away one day and we had no idea he wouldn’t come back.
"They aren’t sleeping; they’re screaming and roaring to see him. We’re blessed they’re so young so they’re not asking questions.
"Richard is such a strong character as a father. He’s boss man. Even though they’re so young they’re acting out because he’s not here.
"The hardest part for Richard isn’t the cancer, it’s the boys. He tries to stay so positive with his treatment but it would be easier if he knew there weren’t three little boys depending on him. His biggest struggle is worrying about his babies."
Valerie said that the decision to be away from her children while she looks after Richard is heartbreaking but she knows she needs to do.
"Our consultant said "give us one year of your life and we’ll give you the rest of your life to be with your babies". Hopefully the boys will have their dad the rest of their lives."
Valerie set up a GoFundMe page to help cover the costs.
"We’re leaving the children at home so we need a night childminder as well as their ordinary childminder. They’ll be staying with family but it’s not fair to ask them to look after three boys under the age of two."
Valerie also needs help raising the costs of accommodation in Dublin so she can be with her husband.
"I had to swallow my pride asking people for help. Everyone has so much going on even with the costs of going back to school. I had no idea of how much we would raise. I’m in awe at how generous people have been."
You can donate to Richard’s GoFundMe page at https://www.gofundme.com/2h5w43w